Community Defense in Stone Mountain, GA

February 2, 2019 there was a proposed neo-confederate rally at the town of Stone Mountain, Georgia and the confederate memorial there. A joint task force of People’s Defense League (then New Orleans John Brown Gun Club) Tampa and Orlando John Brown Gun Club (now Sawgrass Community Defense group – Tampa Bay and Sawgrass Community Defense Group – Orlando), Phelps County John Brown Gun Club (now Phelps Co Community Defense Gun Club), Springfield John Brown Gun Club (now Greater Ozarks Mutual Aid Collective) Savannah General Defense Committee and members from North Georgia Socialist Rifle Association provided armed protection for a coalition of leftist and progressive protest groups called the FLOWER Coalition who mobilized to oppose the racist neo-confederate rally.

The action was largely uneventful because the racist neo-confederates did not show up to their own rally that day, so with no one to counter-protest against the FLOWER Coalition decided to do a peaceful victory march through out the town of Stone Mountain and our security teams provided armed escort looking out for any would be “mass shooters” or vehicle attackers.

The police presence had a largely hands-off approach, only intervening to extinguish an effigy of a Ku Klux Klan member one of the protesters set on fire.

After the action our teams went our separate ways and had a safe trip back home.

Community Defense in Newnan, GA

We got a whole army behind us!

— Ashanti group member

April 21 of 2018 People’s Defense League members (then New Orleans John Brown Gun Club) did a community defense operation in the town of Newnan, Georgia with a joint task force of members from (then) Chattanooga Redneck Revolt, Tampa John Brown Gun Club, Orlando John Brown Gun Club (all Florida RR/JBGC chapters have since reformed into a statewide org called Sawgrass Community Defense Group), for the purpose of protecting the community and leftist activists from Ku Klux Klan members and other Neo-Nazi elements who came to the small southern town to hold an armed rally in a park.

The morning of the action all teams rallied up in a vacant parking lot that we used as a “base of operations” for planning and switching out fireteams who patrolled the town as well as serving as an aid station for anti-fascist activists who passed by which we offered bottled water and snacks or medical care if needed. The police had a huge militarized check point around the park where the fascists were having their rally so activists who chose to enter the pre-determined protest area where subject to frisking or in our case as open carriers, disarming. So to stay within the law and also not disarm ourselves we were forced to stay outside the police cordon and opted to patrol the back streets and show a presence and counter power to the fascists and provide defense in the event of altercations with fascists outside the cordon.

Later in the day a large bloc of black student activists who referred to themselves as the “Ashanti Group” (pictured) marched down the street by our base/aid station and we greeted them with raised fists, they later came back to visit us and take pictures, many of them thanked us for our service to the community and coming from so far away to be there. Many of the townspeople we came across were happy to see us there and welcomed us with open arms.

There was some arrests and violence on behalf of the cops on the unarmed leftist protesters that day but the hundreds of anti-fascist protesters vastly outnumbered the handful of 15 or so neo-nazis and klansmen that showed up to the rally, and major violence was avoided when the state as well as the counter protesters were expecting violence on the level of the Battle of Charlottesville on August 12, 2017 where fascist James Fields killed anti-fascist Heather Heyer in cold blood and mortally injured many others with a vehicle attack.

At the end of the action all teams reported back to our temporary base and started taking off our body armor and made safe our weapons and put them back into their cases. We sat in a circle in the parking lot for a while figuring out where we wanted to go eat while 2 police helicopters who have been circling our base all day continued flying low over us. We eventually decided on a local Mexican restaurant and shared good food, cerveza and margaritas after a long hot day before saying our goodbyes and going our separate ways back to our respective states.

Statement on Disaffiliation with Redneck Revolt

On March 4, 2019 we announced in a facebook post that we were disaffiliating from Redneck Revolt, many other chapters followed soon after in what was essentially a large schism between a large part of the membership and the “inner clique” of the organization that mostly consisted of founding members and their friends who all had a large amount of social capital in the organization. All chapters who disaffiliated left the organization for various reasons but one major unifying cause was the new emergence of a rape survivor of the organization founder Dave Strano, in the Colorado area brought forth by members of the then Front Range John Brown Gun Club (now Front Range W.I.L.D.), whose existence was kept secret by his partner and friends. Until that moment the membership were under the impression that all of Dave Strano’s skeletons were outlined in a blog created by some of his other survivors which Dave Strano was “allegedly” involved in a “accountability process” for those actions.

The release of the blog was the cause of a major schism in the organization along with the disaffiliation post on the Facebook of the then Rose City Redneck Revolt (now Rose City Black Guards) in October of 2017. Many chapters left during that period and those of us who made up New Orleans JBGC at the time voted to remain in Redneck Revolt, and also internally to Redneck Revolt voted to remove the Rose City Chapter on the grounds of them releasing that statement without democratic approval of the group (which was an internal rule). That is a decision that we have since had to self-criticize ourselves on because ultimately Rose City made the right decision and we should have left Redneck Revolt then rather than later, but at the time we were being convinced by the cult of personality around Dave Strano within Redneck Revolt that Dave was already in an accountability process regarding those harms and that the Rose City chapter were just trying to accumulate “ally points” for “performing” their allyship toward survivors of abuse and rape and that the Blog writers were just trying to character assassinate Dave Strano and bring down Redneck Revolt which was a very strong organization at the time.

During this time there was major turmoil within the organization with many chapters leaving, Dave’s actions along with the fact that he was a major figure for the organization prior to his resignation during Rose City’s disaffiliation and the following internal schism. What was roughly a 500+ member strong organization with about 50 chapters nation wide coast to coast was mortally wounded by one man’s actions and truly Redneck Revolt never recovered in strength since that incident, there were a few recruitment waves after things around the Rose City incident got quiet but the organization effectively hit a plateau and certain groups and networks refusing to work with anyone affiliated to Redneck Revolt.

Those of us in New Orleans JBGC at the time believed the stories being spun up by Dave’s cohort and we were wrong, for that we remain accountable and self-critical and hope we made up for it by leaving the organization later and encouraging other chapters to leave and reform as different organizations as well as making this public testimony.

The most recently known survivor’s wishes was that no one organize under any banner created by Dave Strano so that was more than enough reason to disaffiliate aside from our own groups increasing political issues with the “in group” of the organization.

At the time of this writing there are effectively only 2 major chapters still affiliated and active, Phoenix, Arizona and Silver Valley (North Carolina). The only people who remained in RR after the second schism in the spring of 2019 were the close friends of Dave and people who did not decide to honor the survivors wishes in disaffiliating from RR and rebranding ourselves as new organizations. Dave’s close friends still remain control over the national Redneck Revolt Facebook page, Twitter and website and still appear to be “active” though almost all chapters have disaffiliated and/or rebranded themselves as new organizations at this point.

Redneck Revolt/John Brown Gun club in of itself was a necessary project, it formed a large and relatively well organized group of armed leftists together in a time where its common to see neo-nazis openly walking down the street in the era of Trump. But these organizations and their “brands” will forever be tainted by the actions of Dave Strano and forever triggering to many people so for that we believe the organizations need to be put in history books and that new movements organizations and networks who do community defense work should replace it and learn from the mistakes of the past.